Monday, June 18, 2012

Scalloped Potatoes

Today is reveal day for Secret Recipe Club! This month I was assigned a wonderful, fun blog,
A Day in The Life. It is authored by Danielle, who is the mother to 2 adorable little boys, and she lives in beautiful Kentucky, which is right across the river from where I grew up, and it holds a special place in my heart. Danielle's blog has many recipes to choose from, but I chose this particular recipe because I thought it would be a wonderful addition to our Father's Day festivities. And it was! Delicious Scalloped Potatoes!



Scalloped Potatoes
1 1/2 cups Heavy Cream 
1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
2 pounds Russet Potatoes
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. 
         Butter or spray a casserole dish.




Peel your potatoes, and then
using a mandolin or slicer, cut your potatoes
into 1/8" slices.












In a medium saucepan, over medium low heat, warm up the cream, thyme, garlic and nutmeg. Keep your eye on the cream because you do not want it to boil over.














Place a layer of potatoes in the bottom of your prepared casserole dish, overlapping slightly.
Season with pepper. 












Pour about 1/3 of the cream mixture over the potatoes.
Sprinkle some of the parmesan and cheddar over the potatoes.







Do this for 2 more layers.






Bake, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes.










Enjoy!








Thanks Danielle for a great recipe, that was loved by all and made a delicious
addition to our Father's Day celebration!


I made a few changes to this recipe. To see Danielle's exact recipe
go to www.danielledeskins.blogspot.com



Friday, June 15, 2012

Chocolate Caramel Cake

Today is Club Baked day! Twice a month the club bakers are given a recipe to make from the book Baked Exploration by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Everyone makes the same recipe and then we share it, with the hostess posting the actual recipe. This time around the recipe was Chocolate Coffee Cake . So why is my recipe called Chocolate Caramel Cake? I am not a coffee lover. At all. The previous Club Baked recipe was Coffee Ice Cream. I didn't join in because, ya know, the coffee thing.  I didn't want to miss another round of baking, so I made some changes in the recipe, and I was good to go. So was the cake. It was  delicious!
Chocolate Caramel Cake w/ Milk Chocolate Ganache

Cake:
3/4 cup dark unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2/3 cup Sour Cream
2 2/3 cup Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3/4 cup Butter (soft, cut in to 1" cubes)
1/2 cup Vegetable Shortening
1 1/2 cup Sugar
1 cup Dark Brown Sugar
3 Eggs
1 tablespoon Vanilla

Caramel Buttercream
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1/3 cup Flour
1 1/2 cup Milk
1/3 cup Heavy Cream
1 1/2 cup Butter(soft, cut into small pieces)
1 teaspoon Vanilla
3 tablespoon Caramel Flavoring Syrup

Chocolate Glaze
8 ounces good quality Milk Chocolate
3/4 cup Butter (soft, cut into small pieces)
1 tablespoon light Corn Syrup

Cake:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Prepare your pans.
In a medium bowl, mix your cocoa powder and sour cream
with 1 1/4 cup hot water. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and
salt together and set aside.

With your mixer and a paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening
on medium until fluffy and light, about 5 minutes.
Add the sugars and beat on medium until light and fluffy,
about 5 more minutes.
Add eggs, one at a time.
Turn mixer to low, and add vanilla.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix again for 5 minutes.

Beginning with the dry ingredients, add the dry mix and the cocoa mix
to the mixer bowl, alternating each and ending with the dry.

Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes.
Let cool.

Caramel Buttercream:

In a medium saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together.
Add milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally,
until mix comes to a boil.

Transfer mixture to bowl of standing mixer. Beat on high until cool, about
7-9 minutes. Reduce to low and add the butter. Mix until incorporated.
Increase speed to medium high and beat until
frosting is fluffy and light, 1-2 minutes.

Add vanilla and caramel flavoring, and continue mixing until combined.
If frosting is soft, place in fridge until it firms up. Then remove and beat again.
If your frosting is too thick, set the bowl over a pot of boiling water,
and beat with a wooden spoon until it is of proper consistency.

 Frost your cake.

Chocolate Glaze:
Place chocolate, butter, and corn syrup in the top of a double boiler.
 Stir until mix is completely melted and smooth.
Remove from heat, and stir some more to release heat.
Drizzle glaze over cake.
If you want you can place your cake on a wire rack
with a piece of parchment under it. When you drizzle, the unused
glaze will end up on the parchment. If you don't wish to do it
this way, just drizzle the cake when it is on the plate.
 It piles up a little, but it still looks pretty!!
Garnish cake with chocolate rocks. 


 Refrigerate the cake for about 20 minutes to set the glaze,
but serve at room temperature.

This cake would be perfect for Father's Day!!

This cake is wonderful. It does have a lot of ingredients, but you
get to make homemade buttercream, and if you love
chocolate, it's perfect! You can also make it in stages.
I made the cake one day, put it in the freezer, the buttercream the next,
and then make the ganache the final day!


Thanks for joining me!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

It's a Smoothie Party!

It's time for another Crazy Cooking Challenge! This month the recipe to make was a fruit smoothie. I don't know about you, but I love fruit smoothies! But really, what's not to love. They have fruit and they take no time to whip up. And, you can always gussy them up with frills to make them a special treat!

I made my fruit smoothie recipe from Erin at Big Fat Baker. I just love Erin's blog! It is full of  fantastic recipes like Candied Cranberries, Hawaiian Trifle,  and some beautiful Lemon Lime Macarons. That's just a few of her recipes. Erin is also the creator of the Holiday Recipe Club! The HRC is a really fun club, in which I also participate when I can!

So, let's treat ourselves, and enjoy a fruit smoothie!
Fruit Smoothie
1 sliced Banana
1 cup sliced Strawberries
1/3 cup Blueberries
1/3 cup chopped Mango
1 cup Skim Milk
1 cup Ice
Put the strawberries, blueberries and mango in the freezer for
1/2 hour before starting blender.
Layer the ingredients in order in your blender.
Blend for 1-2 minutes, or until completely smooth.

Serve immediately!
Enjoy!

I did make a few changes to the recipe. To see the original
recipe, go to Fruit Smoothies.

Thanks for joining me today,
and thanks Erin, for such a great recipe!
Photobucket


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Grilled Fruit Sundae!

If you are grilling this weekend, add this quick and simple dessert to your menu. I grilled strawberries and banana, but you could use any fruit you like, such as peaches, plums, oranges, pineapple, or even watermelon. The heat from the grill really brings out the sugar in the fruit. So good!
Grilled Fruit Sundae 
(adapted from Ellie Krieger)

Cooking Spray
1 Banana
2 Strawberries
2 cups Vanilla Ice Cream
Strawberry Sauce

Spray your grill with cooking spray.
Cut the tops off of your strawberries, and slice in half lengthwise.
Slice banana in half lengthwise.
Place on grill. 
Turn when they begin to get brown. It only takes
a few minutes.
A week or so ago, I made this 
Strawberry Coulis. Now I will use it for this dessert.
Scoop the ice cream into your dish, and top with
strawberry sauce.
Place strawberry and banana pieces in your sundae.
Super simple~Super delicious!

Thanks for joining me today!

The Freshman Cook is visiting these parties:
Church Supper 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Beach Ball Cookies!

It's Thursday already! I can't believe how fast the weeks fly by!! Today is Cookie Journey Thursday here at The Freshman Cook, and this week I worked on making a beach ball cookie. I used a round 2" diameter circle cookie cutter, and I copied an advertisement for a beach ball to determine color and placement of the color. It went pretty well, but I need a little practice with getting my icing ready to use. A couple times it got clogged in the tips. I made the icing last week, and I kept it covered in a plastic container with a lid, but it didn't seem as nice as when I first mixed it.
I used Americolor Orange, Leaf Green and Super Red.
I also used Wilton Lemon Yellow, Royal Blue, and 
plain white. I did everything with a #2 tip.
I used a food marker on the round cookies, marked off the center,
and the 6 color sections. I used an ad for a beach ball
as a guide. I filled in the green center first.
I outlined and filled in the white section first.
Then I outlined and filled in the 
yellow, red, and green sections.
I finished with the orange and blue.
That's it. It wasn't difficult. The toughest thing was
making sure the angles for the sections on the ball 
are correct. I think my spacing needs some work, but I 
love the colors, and beach balls are fun! I think I 
will go buy a beach ball. It may be helpful to have
it in front of me to get better spacing of the sections!

Thanks for joining me this week!
I hope you are learning along with me. 

Stop by next Friday for Cookie Journey Thursday.
I have another post due on Thursday, so I have pushed 
my cookie journey to Friday. I will continue with
summer funtime posts for a few weeks!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Cafe Rio Barbacoa Pork

 It's time for another Holiday Recipe Club, and for Memorial Day we could choose between 3 ingredients to use. Our choices are watermelon, pork, or beer. You can also choose two or all of the ingredients, if you would like. I chose pork because I love it. I love to cook with it at home, and I do so very often. I also love to get it when we go out to eat. When it comes to my favorite place to eat out, I guess I go in cycles, just like anyone else. Sometimes, it's a slice of pizza and a great salad bar. Other times it's an all you can eat sushi place. Right now it is a Mexican, stand in line and order kinda of place called Cafe Rio. I just love it! I went searching for a copy cat recipe mostly because my husband is sick and tired of Cafe Rio being the only place I want to go eat.Oh, he likes it too, but he is not obsessed anxious to have it all the time.  He doesn't say anything, but sometimes you just know. Ya know? Anyway I found one, and it is delicious. You will love it! For the true Cafe Rio experience you need to make the pork and the enchilada sauce.

Cafe Rio Barbacoa Pork
(adapted from barbarabakes.com)
2 pounds boneless Pork Ribs
12 ounce can Coke (not diet)
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
dash Garlic Powder
1/4 cup Water 

Place the pork and the brown sugar  in a plastic bag.
Pour in the coke. Marinate for a few hours
or even overnight.
Pour the meat and the marinade into the crock pot.
Add the garlic powder and the water.
Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.
When done, drain the liquid and shred the pork.
Now make the enchilada sauce:
Barbacoa Enchilada Sauce
1 cup Coke (not diet)
1 small can diced green Chilies
1 cup red Enchilada Sauce
1/2 cup brown Sugar

Put all ingredients in food processor or blender and blend.
 Put shredded pork and enchilada sauce in to 
crock pot and cook on high for 2 hours.
Then it is ready to serve.
I put my pork on top of white rice on a flour tortilla.
I also added sauteed onions and peppers.
At Cafe Rio their burrito is served with Cilantro Lime Rice
and Black or Pinto Beans. I have some recipes
for those that I will be posting in the near future.
I topped my burrito with the enchilada sauce
and some shredded cheddar.
So delicious! 

Thanks for joining me today! 


Stop and see what everyone else made:








 

Friday, May 25, 2012

She's A Grand Old Flag!

Today is another Cookie Journey Thursday, and we are making Flag cookies for Memorial Day! I love making cookies for special holidays!
I used a Wilton #2 tip for everything, and I used 
Wilton Royal Blue and Americolor Super Red #120 for the icing.
I cut out my cookie, and started the decorating by
outlining a circle at the top of the flag pole, and then filling it in.
Let it dry before going on to the next step.
Outline and then fill in the flag pole. 
Mark out a small square at the top for the bed of stars,
outline and then fill in. Let dry.
Here is a pic from the top of the cookie. The flag should look
like it is waving, so I brought the blue field all the way to the top,
and I made it as wide as the first scallop on the cookie.
Let the icing dry.
I made the first stripe red, and followed with 6 stripes total.
I let the stripe dry for about 20 minutes before 
moving on.
I piped the stripes freehand. It was very easy.
I made sure that the first red and the first white stripe
were equal in width to the field of blue. I was going to sketch
a line as a guide for the rest of the stripes, but instead
I estimated the width and drew the first line, like the red one above.
Then I came back along the previous white line. This was a
lot like the outlining I piped when I made the graduation cookies, 
but this looks much better. 
I guess it does pay to practice!
 (I should have listened to that advice a long time ago!)
Then I piped the line at the edge of the flag, and filled
in the stripe.
I think these turned out pretty well, but
I definitely need to perfect this, so look for these again
near the 4th of July.
Practice makes Perfect!
(or so I have heard :))

Looking for cookie cutters? 
I got a great email today from Foose Cookie Cutters,
and they have some fantastic new cutters!
Check them out!

Thanks for joining me today!
I hope someone is practicing along with me!

Have a great Memorial Day and weekend!!

The Freshman Cook can be found at the following parties:
Sweet Tooth Friday
Friday Favorites 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Apple and Raisin Bread Pudding

 I got the best Mother's Day present ever last week, when my son surprised me by coming home from school earlier than I thought he would! I really did not expect to see him until sometime before school starts again in August. I miss him terribly, and he is so far away, but I know he has his own life at school and with summer school and working, I never get to see him enough! So, imagine my surprise when he walked in the front door around 5 pm on the Friday before Mother's Day. BEST MOTHER'S DAY EVER!  I had such fun cooking all his favorites, and spoiling him with treats while he was here. One of those treats was bread pudding. Bread pudding has long been a favorite of mine, but my son likes his a little different than I do. So, I made it two different ways, making small personal servings. I made mine and my husbands with apple chunks and golden raisins. My son likes his plain, no apples or raisins, and we all like it topped with ice cream. I used some bread that I bought a while ago. It is called Kings Hawaiian Sweet Sliced Bread. Now, I love the rolls, but the bread was way to dense for our taste, so I just froze it because I thought it would make great bread pudding. Plus, I have a hard time throwing something away that I just bought.!

Apple and Raisin Bread Pudding
I used 6 ounce ramekins, and this recipe makes 4.
I also made it with 8 ounce ramekins, and the recipe makes 2.

Kings Hawaiian Sweet Bread
2/3 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Butter
2 Eggs
1 cup Whipping Cream
1/2 Granny Smith Apple
3 tablespoons Golden Raisins
2 teaspoons Vanilla
Dashes of Cinnamon
Cut 2-3 slices of bread into cubes.
Fill the ramekin to the top with the cubes.
Cut the 1/2 apple and cut into small bite size pieces.
Place into each ramekin.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
Beat the sugar and butter till creamy.
Add your eggs, and beat until fluffy.
Stir in the whipping cream and vanilla.
Distribute the raisins evenly over the bread and apple.
Pour the egg mixture into each of the ramekins, filling
to the top. Push the bread, apple, and raisins
down into the mix, so everything is covered.
Sprinkle cinnamon over each of the mixtures.
Make a water bath, also called a bain marie, to cook the 
 bread pudding. This is a french technique designed to cook delicate dishes
 such as custards and sauces without breaking or curdling them.
 It can also be used to keep cooked foods warm.
To do this, place the ramekins into a 
baking dish that will hold all 4, or 2 if you are 
making the larger servings. 
Boil some water, and pour the boiling water into the baking dish,
so you end up with approx. 1" of water in the dish.
Bake for 40-50 minutes. Check the puddings at 35 minutes by
placing a toothpick in them. If it comes out clean,
they are done. Carefully remove the dishes from the hot water.
Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream, or....
serve plain.
Warm or cold, it is delicious!
Enjoy!

Thanks for joining me!

The Freshman Cook can be found at these parties:
Sweet Tooth Friday
Friday Favorites